Friday, February 08, 2008

The Nature of Faith

Recently I've been thinking a lot about faith. Like, what is faith, really? My thinking has been spurred by a couple recent events. One, a young Christian couple I know is struggling with everything in life since giving birth to a severely handicapped child. Another is a young Christian woman with whom I've had a mentoring relationship, who has pretty much decided to reject Christianity because it has too many reasonableness problems. These three people are now talking about "losing their faith."

I'd like to have the theology that embraces eternal security. That's what I grew up with, and there certainly is some evidence of that in Scripture. But when I observe cases like this (as well as certain other places in Scripture) I begin to wonder. I mean, if by grace we are saved through faith, and we no longer have faith, then maybe we are no longer saved. Ah, the old Calvinism v. Arminianism debate.

As I woke up this morning pondering the nature of faith, I remembered this verse:
I Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly;
We crave reasonableness, we crave things to be "right," we crave to get what we deserve. But, really, we don't see the whole picture. There might be reasons for a handicapped child, I don't know. There might be reasons for things we don't understand in scripture, I don't know. Is faith nothing more than assenting to God to do something I don't understand?

Scripture also tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. He doesn't demand good works, a good attitude, or good understanding. No, he asks for something much harder--faith.

That chapter in I Corinthians goes on to say, "There are three things: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love." I wonder if my three friends are losing faith and hope because they have not experienced enough love.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Before There Were Empty Ink Cartridges

There were dried out, worn out, and empty typewriter ribbons. And like ink cartridges, they also can be refilled and renewed by the needy missionary.

This was 1980 in Fo'ondo village, Malaita, Solomon Islands. (Click on the image to get a better view of the Sanford roll-on ink bottle.)